This post was stimulated by Linda Ellinor’s comment to my Academia chapter, which I include here:
hi Larry and all: I haven’t been following everything. But, I noticed this one paragraph in Larry’s latest post related to Dialogue:
He says “Dialoging with each other is a very weak form of “doing together”. We ignore older sems. We don’t weave our words into a developing “text” – like a constitution or holy book that is referred to. But, in our case, it must be continually changing, not a fixed dogma.”
I clearly don’t know the context well here. It is true that it may seem like nothingg is building up to anything at all in an actual Bohm Dialogue (which is different from a more general understanding of Dialogue). But, actually, if the group doing the Bohm Dialoging is a stable and relatively fixed group over a long-period of time with a focused attention on a specific topic (which may wander at times, which is how Bohm Dialogue works – you need an opening question which serves as a continuous focusing of attention – with no need for a fixed outcome), then it can be a very strong form of doing together as it may lead to focused action once there is a relatively stable felt sense of coherence in the group. This is a very strong doing. It always comes down to our impatience with the just ‘talking’ about phase. We normally skip this and get into the ‘doing’ stage with no reflection, no slowing down to examine our beliefs and underlying assumptions about how what we ‘might’ do fits in coherently to a future vision we are trying to create together.
Linda, after composing all that follows I read, again, your message and now perceive it as a whole, to which I respond to here. The intent of my quote (above in blue) was pointing out that most dialog leaves behind only its track of stored messages (if that), that are difficult to search and organize – the past of dialog is virtually useless. We need to intentionally work on collaborative, mutually accessible and emergent, semiotic structures (sem fields).
Linda, you attended to my calling dialog, WEAK. You are quite correct in portraying B-Dialog as a “very strong doing”. Sharing across perspectives/paradigms may well be the most difficult of all doings.
FIRST OFF: I use “dialog” almost synonymous with “conversation”, but it includes asynchronous online interactivity. There must be some “exchange”, where one person is responding to another persons message, but all content need not be responded to. It is a stretch to call the postings and comments in a Facebook or Goggle+ group/forum “dialog”. I do so label it “dialog”, in its weakest sense. The Bohmian style “dialog” Linda promotes is at the opposite extreme (without negative connotations).
As Larry/nuet comprehends it: The intent of Bohmian style dialog is not to exchange or share information or knowledge, although those may occur during the dialog. Linda suggests that the B-dialog may begin with a topic, as that is how most persons usually converse. The topic could be “dialog”. The intent of B-dialog is to enlarge the mutually shared context of the participants in the dialog. This is a very important objective; but with some significant concerns.
In line with my new principle, question all assumption, perspectives, and paradigms, the current levels of expertize about “dialoging” must be open to exploration.
Aside: Decades ago I started to read the book on the many year dialog between David Bohm and J, Krishnamurti. I probably didn’t give the book the proper attention, but it was my observation that the two persons were each lecturing into space, neither responding to anything the others said.
The whole field of human interactivity (from intimate body-2-body to simply reading/viewing the expressions of unknown others, including cooperative/collaborative interaction during mutual composing of structures) must be explored and the silo walls penetrated. This should include the experimental design/use of alternative multi-sensory “languages”, taking full advantage of emerging “intelligent technologies”. Also, of high priority, will be to give serious attention to the vast individual differences between humans as to cognitive competencies, honoring the essential diversity of humankind. Humans perceive sensory stimuli quite differently and may never achieve mutual sharing of very large contexts. This inability to become ONE, is our strength – in diversity.
The future organizational systems for humanity must be consistent with these realities about human interactivity.
As part of UPLIFT, we need to create a process for enlarging the mutually shared context of the participants in patterns of interactivity, thought the growing populations of humans involved in UPLIFT. This extends the intent of Bohmian dialog.
And Second Off: On talking vs doing, as commented on by Linda. Talking is a form of doing. Talking often accompanies doing. Organizing for talking is doing, and involves talking. Habitual doing is what Kuhn initially called “paradigms’, and are much more resistant to change than “beliefs”. Humans seek ritual doings, whether by mouth or hand. Ritual behavior is essential; what is needed is the continuing design/emergence of relevant rituals. Rituals need not be “traditional”.
AND, this brief doc about dialog and doing, and all the issues mentioned above, MUST periodically be “related to” all the thousands of equally relevant issues. AND, in the spirit that we are always continuing LEARNERS, always open to fundamental change.